Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot Debuts Solo Museum Exhibition at OK Linz

Staff report

LINZ, Austria — June 20, 2024

The OK Linz Museum will host the first-ever solo museum exhibition of Nadya Tolokonnikova, artist and founder of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, from June 21 to October 20, 2024. The exhibition, titled “RAGE,” showcases Tolokonnikova’s provocative works that focus on resistance, repression, and rebellion against authoritarian regimes and patriarchal structures.

Tolokonnikova, known for her conceptual performances and artistic protests against the Putin regime in Russia, has faced persecution for her activism. Her performance “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, which The Guardian hailed as one of the most important artworks of the 21st century, led to her imprisonment for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Despite ongoing persecution, she continues to create art and fight against dominant structures.

The “RAGE” exhibition features a variety of Tolokonnikova’s works, including sculptures, installations, and video pieces. Highlights include “PUSSY RIOT SEX DOLLS,” which repurposes used sex dolls as symbols of female resistance, and “PUTIN’S ASHES,” a 2023 video in which Tolokonnikova and women from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia burn a portrait of Vladimir Putin and collect the ashes as relics.

Visitors will also encounter the “RAGE CHAPEL,” a room with large-format icons and a red glowing Cyrillic symbol, dedicated to activists fighting against the Russian regime. The exhibition includes immersive installations that create a dystopian environment, echoing Tolokonnikova’s themes of anarchism and radical opposition.

One striking piece is an oversized blade titled “DAMOKLES’ SWORD,” symbolizing the precarious situation of Russian artists and activists who live in constant fear of persecution. The exhibition also features a reconstruction of Tolokonnikova’s prison cell, displaying letters, documents, and photographs that document her harsh prison life.

“RAGE” not only presents Tolokonnikova’s artistic achievements but also emphasizes her ongoing struggle against global structures of power and repression. The exhibition, curated by Michaela Seiser and Julia Staudach, underscores Tolokonnikova’s commitment to using art as a powerful tool of critique and resistance.

The exhibition is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at OK Linz, OK Platz 1, 4020 Linz, Austria. For more information, visit www.ooekultur.at.

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